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LAFF 2017: 10 Festival Picks, from ‘My Friend Dahmer’ to ‘Everything Beautiful Is Far Away’

This year's edition of the L.A. Film Festival runs from June 14–22.

“On the Beach at Night Alone”

More LAFF highlights:

“Midnighters” (Nightfall)

LAFF’s Nightfall section has been home to a number of (un)pleasant surprises over the years. Julius Ramsay’s thriller (which, sadly, doesn’t actually screen at midnight) could be the latest. Not unlike Karyn Kusama’s “The Invitation,” it begins with a nighttime car accident and sounds like it only gets darker from there as the driver and passenger come to realize they’re already connected to the person they hit. Perhaps their reunion will go swimmingly and all will be well?

“Moko Jumbie” (World Fiction)

Recent selections like “Crumbs” serve to remind that LAFF’s programmers also have an eye for outré fare from the world over. “Moko Jumbie,” which hails from Trinidad and Tobago, was written, directed, co-produced, and -edited by Vashti Anderson; the first-timer focused her story on a coconut plantation where a forbidden romance gives way to an otherworldliness in which the living and the dead commingle freely. The feature will be preceded by “Dear Mr. Shakespeare,” a short directed by Shola Amoo.

My Friend Dahmer” (Buzz)

Everyone loves a good serial-killer movie, the kind that places us inside the mind of a person whose thought process is too disturbing to contemplate for long. Based on the graphic novel of the same name, “My Friend Dahmer” looks at the Milwaukee Cannibal’s high-school years — a time when he was merely dissolving roadkill in acid rather than raping, murdering, and occasionally preserving the body parts of 17 men. The graphic novel was written by John Backderf, who knew Dahmer during the time depicted, which means Marc Meyers’ film has the potential to paint an uncomfortably accurate portrait of its subject.

On the Beach at Night Alone” (World Fiction)

The ever-prolific Hong Sang-soo has three movies on the festival circuit, two of which just premiered at Cannes. “On the Beach at Night Alone” first made landfall in Berlin earlier this year and has been interpreted as a confessional exercise about his current romantic/creative partner, Kim Min-hee of “The Handmaiden;” Hong was married when they began seeing each other. Kim became the first Korean to win the Silver Bear for Best Actress for her performance as, well, an actress who has a much-publicized affair with her director.

“Stella Polaris Ulloriarsuaq”

The planet is slowly dying and most of the people in charge with preventing it don’t seem especially concerned, but at least we’re getting some good movies out of it. “Stella Polaris Ulloriarsuaq,” which concerns the Kalaallit people of Greenland and the ever-depleting glaciers they reside among, could be another. Yatri N. Niehaus’ documentary offers an elemental look at its subject, whose way of life is melting away.

“Thread” (Nightfall)

The writer/director/co-composer of this Greek genre-bender is credited only as “The Boy,” though a bit of research reveals his real name is Alexandros Voulgaris. Set in the politically turbulent ’70s, the film comes with a trigger warning for its depiction of sexual assault and gives the impression of having been made by a fledgling provocateur. Any number of bizarre, compelling movies have emerged from Greece in the last few years, which is to say that Voulgaris has a lot to live up to — and room to make a mark of his own.

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